The SMAP observatory - short for Soil Moisture Active Passive - will make another attempt to blast off atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California early on Friday, the US space agency said.
    
The high-resolution maps that it returns to scientists should help prepare for the future in which severe weather like droughts and storms are expected to become more frequent, by giving experts better tools to forecast how crops and forests will change as the planet warms.

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